Festival of Sails - Late finish to Melbourne to Geelong passage race

Festival Of Sails 2012, James Boags Classic Yacht Division, Royal Geelong Yacht Club, Geelong (AUS), Corio Vertue
Andy and Di Indrans’ 25-foot classic timber yacht, Corio Vertue, last night returned to her hunting ground when she signalled the close of the Melbourne to Geelong passage race just before 6pm last night.

Corio Vertue’s elapsed time for the 34 nautical mile course was 8 hours 42 minutes compared to Tim Pepperell and his red hot trimaran, Bare Essential’s time of 3 hours 35 minutes and Premier division A line honours winner, Shogun, with an elapsed time of 3 hours 38 minutes.

The Indrans were delighted with their result as it’s the first time they have finished the passage race in daylight.

'The boat punched along nicely into the southerly at four knots. She weighs five tonnes and for her that’s flying,' said Andy this morning.

Sailing two up with wife Di, Corio Vertue finished well within the sunset time limit. Last year the lights were almost turned out on the pair who scraped in within three minutes of the course being shut down.

When asked whether they have found their place within the classic yacht collegiate Andy retorted,' we haven’t caught up with them yet – literally'.

Corio Vertue, now based at Hobson’s Bay Yacht Club at Williamstown, was a Royal Geelong Yacht Club standout in the 1960s and 1970s, including line honours winner of the 1965 Queenscliff to Devonport race.

From the Laurent Giles design board, the first Vertue was launched in 1935. Built of NZ Kauri planks and Tasmanian oak frames in 1965, Corio Vertue is the 99th edition of the Vertue design.

Yacht racing is a colourful sport and while yesterday’s passage race was straightforward for the majority of the near 300 boat fleet, for at least two crews it was a day they’d rather forget.

Frank Hammond’s Radford 35SI, Horizon Sprint, was involved in a port/starboard incident with Brian Pattinson’s Gusto just past the Sandringham Yacht Club turning mark. Gusto hooked Horizon’s backstay, snapping the top 5-6 feet off the top of the mast and after a protest heard yesterday evening, Gusto was subsequently disqualified.

Hammond, a Festival of Sails regular since the mid-1960s, and his crew are now in Geelong looking for crew spots among the fleet.

'We won the protest but we lost the regatta,' said a disappointed Hammond this morning. 'What’s worse is we were leading our Club Marine pointscore and this is the business end of the season. It’s likely we’ll miss at least two races waiting for a new mast'.

Michael Greaves’ MacGregor 26S, Estrellita, was another casualty, hitting a sandbank off Werribee and retiring with rudder damage that required the boat to be towed into Port Arlington.

Today’s forecast is for southeasterly winds 10 to 15 knots increasing to 15 to 20 knots during the afternoon before tending east to southeasterly tonight.

The fleet will revert to short course racing with windward/leewards and a Corio Bay course scheduled for day four of the Festival of Sails.

Festival of Sails website